While romance novels are slowly gaining traction as a legitimate and delightful genre unto themselves, shedding the unearned stigma of their early “pulp” and mass-market years, there’s still a void to be filled. Very likely, if you spend much time surfing the internet, you’ll discover that there’s not a whole lot of quality advice out there on how to better market your romance novel apart from the standard, general, non-genre-specific advice given to all self-published authors. But this is, as the Washington Post calls it, a “uniquely successful genre” in that it is one of the top performers in sales, across the board — and sales don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. There’s an audience out there, and they need to hear about your book!
Here are four quick tips that will help you romance new readers!
ONE: Tap into the untold power of Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a reader-centric social media platform which privileges the kind of digital discovery tools so valuable to reaching dedicated readers, and readers of romance novels are incredibly dedicated. Have you ever known a reader in the genre to only ever buy just one book? While Amazon uses algorithms to optimize which customers are exposed to which recommended books, Goodreads relies upon readers to recommend books to each other using their reviews, shelves, giveaways, and group conversations. Both Amazon and Goodreads (which has, in fact, been purchased by Amazon but remained a separate entity) are powerhouses of the book world, and creating an author account and taking charge of your book’s sales page can reap untold rewards. Join a couple of group forums for romance readers (we particularly like the sound of the “Tall, Dark & Deadly” group, as well as the “Scandalicious Reader Vault”). Host a giveaway or two. Re-post your blog updates to your Goodreads author page. Offer to exchange reviews with other romance authors. Respond to readers’ questions in the Q&A section. There is literally no downside to getting on Goodreads and optimizing your Amazon page!
TWO: Make use of groups on Facebook. Yes! Facebook does have more to offer than just its author pages! The greatest untapped resource of Facebook is its group function, and I’m not talking about scheduling an event or posting on someone else’s home page, although those are also great ways to reach out. No: you can actually create your own group if there isn’t one which already suits your needs (do a quick search for “romance writers” or “romance readers” and see what comes up!) simply by clicking “Groups” from your home page, then “Add Group,” then “Create New Group.” Facebook will walk you through naming your group, adding members, choosing privacy settings, adding images and icons, and completing your “about” section. Make sure to include the hyperlink to your book sales page, and commit to commenting or otherwise engaging with your chosen group on a regular basis, and you’ll be sure to see a spike in interest.
THREE: Think hard about merchandising. Romance books are rife with symbolic artifacts: those objects which remind your characters of each other, and which serve as metaphors or vehicles for their attraction. We’re talking about that gold bangle on your leading lady’s wrist, or that fountain pen in your champion’s breast pocket. We’re talking about that bookmark your ingénue tucks into her copy of Leaves of Grass while strolling through the New England countryside in search of adventure, or that teacup which shatters in chapter thirteen. Think of how you can riff off of those artifacts, whether by ordering customized pens, sunglasses, or keychains with your website address on them, or by hosting a giveaway in which you give swag as well as your book as an incentive to enter. Think about more flexible means of advertising, too, whether by mailing a postcard featuring your book’s cover or printing bookmarks with the same, or by ordering posters to put up in the windows of local businesses. Merchandising can mean a lot of things, but it always means your book is always in your future readers’ minds!
FOUR: Put a pin in it. That’s right, I’m talking about Pinterest, everybody’s go-to home for recipes and home decorating tips. But you know what? Pinterest is also a fantastic place to market your book, as it is already being used by readers of romance to post their favorite book covers, movie posters, and digitally decorated quotes (in image form). You can create boards of your own, and specify them at will. You might have one where you store your “research” or “inspiration,” and another where you routinely post quotes from your own book. You might even go all-out and start a board where you pin recipes inspired by your book or that are prepared for or by your various characters throughout your romance novel, and a board where you post outfits or “fancastings” of your characters. Think about your ideal reader, and what will engage them best. What sort of home might they live in? What sort of recipes would they regularly look for? Build your brand from the ground up, in image form.
If you’re still not sure how to start marketing your romance novel, log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers. As an Outskirts Press published author, you can also access your Free Book Marketing Resource Center where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs!
To see our staff picks of amazing romance books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.